American Chimera – 29.1

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“So this is it?” the interrogator asked. She stuck the needle into her arm and injected the needlestick drive next to an older drive she’d taken from Dr. Worthington’s body, overtop a row of at least a dozen old needlestick scars. The drive sat beneath the skin, the area raw and red from the injection. She dabbed at the wound with a bandage. “This is all the video footage you’ve made?”

“Yes,” Crowe responded. Her hair whipped about in the wind generated by the airplane’s propellers. “The interviews are there. I’ll send you a video of Dani playing volleyball, if we make it to Britain and you give me an email address.”

“Hmph.” The interrogator dropped the needlestick into a hard box to be autoclaved. “I have your address. I’m sure I can get additional video if I want it. The government will, at least.” She shook out her arm.

A door opened at the terminal. Dani and Janie walked out, each with no luggage, just the ramshackle blanket-dress and prison garb on their persons. They ran over the tarmac to where the interrogator and Crowe stood.

“So this is it?” Janie asked. “We’re going out of the country?”

Rebecca nodded. “What the American government did to you was an atrocity. Britain will give you asylum.” She reached out to Janie and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Thank you so much, for being so brave. What you did today will ensure Dani has a life she can be proud of, one lived outside the four walls of a jail cell.” She turned to Dani. “And thank you, for also being brave. What you went through couldn’t have been easy.”

“It wasn’t,” Dani said. “But I didn’t come up with the plan or break myself out. It was her.” She nodded to the interrogator. “You know, I still don’t know your name.”

The interrogator pat Dani on the head, very lightly, before hopping back. “No point in remembering it now. If I fail at my objective, I’ll definitely be killed. Better you don’t have a name to remember me by.” She reached to her neck, removed a necklace, and handed it to the little spider. “But here. Take this – if anything can prove you’ve met me, this will be it.”

Dani held the thing in a claw, let the ivory-white pendant dangle. The piece was about the size of a silver dollar and amorphously shaped. She swung it back and forth, examined the quality of the material, then asked, “What is it?”

“One of Fiendish Dr. Kim’s kneecaps.”

Dani dropped it. “What!?”

The interrogator cleared her throat, then pointed to the round pendant on the ground. “That’s valuable, you know. If you don’t believe me, you can get it checked. Her genes are on file, I guarantee it.” She shuffled a bit.

Rebecca lifted a brow. “Are you certain you don’t want to just come with us? You seem to be a rare specimen yourself, full of Chimera War relics. I’m sure your stories would be fit for history books.”

“Probably.”

“But it’s classified?”

“I’m not at liberty to say.”

“Shame, that.” Crowe turned and walked toward the plane. “If you get the opportunity, call me up and ask for an interview. I’m sure your story needs to be told, especially in the west where people with your skin tone are dying out.”

The interrogator’s smile disappeared. “Of course. I’ll let you know.”

“But don’t hold my breath, am I right?” Rebecca walked up to the stairs and motioned for Dani and Janie to go up them and enter the plane. “It’s time for us to leave, my friend, if you don’t want to come with us.”

“No. My duty is here. I stuck with my country through harder times in the past, and I’ll stick with her now.” She looked to Dani, and offered a nervous hand. “I’m sorry I was scared of chimeras. I still am. But you understand – the war and all.”

Dani didn’t take the hand, but she acknowledged it with a small tap. “Oh, I get it. Antigen is totally scared of me, even if she never wants to say it. You didn’t get as fu-” she looked at her mother, then changed course “-You didn’t get as screwed up as her, but there’s a few bolts loose in that head of yours.”

“Well, thank you for helping me screw a few of them back into place. I couldn’t have asked for a better chimera to get to know.”

“Aww, you’re just saying that ’cause I’m the only one.” Dani scrambled up a couple stairs. “Come visit us if you can. I owe you everything, you know. Literally everything.”

“I’ll visit if I can.”

Dani disappeared into the cabin.

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